Thank you all for the nice recommendations for this past weekend! My girlfriends and I had an amazing time and ate and drank all the things. The weather was incredible, and we did our best to spend as much time outside as possible. That included a hike up Camelback Mountain. We only made it halfway and later found out the trail we tried was one of the hardest in Phoenix. Probably not the wisest thing to do out of shape and with cross-trainers on!
My favorite stop on the trip was Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. While not necessarily my style, it was so fascinating and inspiring to see. Our tour guide was a spring of knowledge, and I’ll try to share some of what I learned as we take a look at the shots I got. I was halfway listening as I took in the brilliance, so I’ll do my best to get the facts straight!
Because of health issues Frank Lloyd Wright visited the Sonoran Desert in the 1930’s and began trekking there every winter with his third wife, Olgivanna, and the Taliesin fellowship. In 1937 he bought land nestled into McDowell Mountain range $2,000 for 600 acres just outside of Scottsdale, Arizona, and spent the next few summers sleeping in tents under the stars while they built Taliesin West.
Mr. Wright was an organic architect. He believed in using what was around him and creating a structure that was in harmony with the surroundings rather than opposed to it. Nearly every wall is made of sand, gravel and native stones.
The ceilings were made of canvas. They create the softest light – perfect for drafting.
The desert sun coupled with the angles he created make for the best shadows.
Mr. Wright insisted that people visiting bring their best clothing for nightly parties. Tuxes and evening gowns were required for “Taliesin Evenings” and the guest list included people like John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe. While he wanted guests, he could often be found buried in the piano playing Beethoven while everyone partied around him.
If you look closely, you can see that the glass is cut around that urn in the window. They summered at Taliesin West for 10 years before they put glass in, and when they did Mr. Wright was insistent that nothing be moved to make way for it. So they were forced to cut around it!
Frank Lloyd Wright’s version of shiplap? This was their personal bathroom.
This is a shot of Mr. Wright and Olgivanna during one of the summers of construction. Talk about chic! I was born in the wrong era.
The dining hall is still used by the fellows and students today. Just love that blue.
Mr. Wright was all about recycling. He gave some students the task of doing something with these ancient Chinese relics and they can be found pieced together throughout the grounds.
Poppy and maroon…feels so fresh but is clearly timeless.
I had no clue the innovation Mr. Wright had in lighting. He is credited for creating pendant lights, floor lighting, and recessed lighting!
Attention to detail is everywhere, and one of the fountains included the perfect slope so that bubbles cast stars on the bottom.
The most lovely thing I heard was the last stop of the tour. We finished off in the cabaret room and I didn’t feel like the twinkle lights necessarily made sense in the space. It was at the very end our guide told us that they had been put up for the holidays shortly after Mr. Wright had passed and when someone mentioned that they needed to be taken down Olgivanna said, “I would like them left up. They remind me of sleeping under the stars with Frank.” It’s funny how the meaning behind things can turn the least likely element into your favorite thing.
If you’re in Scottsdale, I highly recommend visiting Taliesin West. This experience definitely has me interested in seeing more of his homes, and it was just so refreshing to learn and explore. Kids made me forget how much I love tours. I’m hoping to do more things like this and would love to share them with you all!
Have you visited any Frank Lloyd Wright homes? Would you like to see more of this kind of post on the blog?
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